She was named "Bostonian of the Year" for her successful cases against mob bosses and drug companies:
Out of the 94 U.S. DA offices, her office alone collected ~67% of the total criminal and civil fines in 2012, mostly owing to the successful prosecution of drug companies. Her success led to speculation that she would run for higher office:
She is no stranger to being part of a disenfranchised group, as she was the first Hispanic and first woman to hold the position of U.S. attorney in Boston. Her first internship was with the DOJ's public integrity unit, created after Watergate:
She's not of the "evil prosecutor" mold as is commonly thought and her background, particularly her history of fighting white-collar crime and corporations, doesn't strike me as someone who is intent on screwing the little guy over. That said, the seemingly-excessive charges could stem from a result of misconception and, let's face it, technological ignorance (hacking sounds bad, period). But in solving the overall problem in the justice system, let's not attribute to malice what can be attributed to other issues just yet.
One edit: a link to a piece by Aaron on yelling at the machine, rather than the person:
My intent is not to say that the petition is wrong, but to argue that if people are going to call for action, call it for the right and productive reasons, rather than simplifying cause and effect to just one main person (even if the buck technically stops with her).
No doubt she intended for her campaign for governor to describe her as a "staunch defender of intellectual property rights" who, as prosecutor, put a "dangerous hacker behind bars" for "breaking into MIT and stealing millions of dollars of federally funded research."
The Obama administration has thrown better people than her out the airlock because they became political liabilities. We need to add a new rule to the political rulebook that she's playing by. Ending her career is necessary to send a lesson to every other prosecutor who sees a guy like Aaron the way a housecat sees a cornered rat.
I seriously doubt that any of this is unique to a few prosecutors. At the end of the day, their incentives are not for the social good. Individually, they want a flawless record as a victor, costs to their victims be damned.
She was exceptionally pissed to have to agree to stay the charges.
The tactics described in the petition are ingrained in the US justice system. Getting rid of a single prosecutor isn't going to change a damn thing because the injustices are systemic, not the product of a vindictive individual.
Like Aaron said, shouting at the gears isn't going to fix the machine.
But excising the broken, unfit, insidiously malicious gear from the machine will make said machine one gear short of harming the innocent-until-proven-guilty.
Ortiz comes across to me as a better than average human being who did something evil because she seems to have been morally confused about something. I don't think Ortiz is, say, as bad as Kissinger.
Maybe the evil justifies the revenge of removing Ortiz. But this petition striking me as an exercise in nastiness. Wouldn't an official, public reprimand be better?
If engineers started getting sacked for breaking the build, you can be damned sure people would get very scrupulous about only committing working code, whether they're fresh out of school or greybeards.
No, it's not a perfect analogy, but I don't think it needs to be.
Just like this is, actually.
No, so not like this, actually.
How many software engineers or their professional peers have been nudged, pushed or shoved into committing suicide because of a broken build? No, really?
When a person in position of authority is maliciously responsible for driving people to the brink of suicide and then some, they need to be held to a higher standard because of the very position they hold.
This episode is not an excuse for a witch-hunt of those in power, but the people who precipitated this episode need to be excised from their position precisely because of the irresponsible witch-hunt they carried out.
It wasn't my shitty analogy to begin with. You're missing the point: getting one prosecutor fired won't change anything, because everyone above and below that prosecutor will continue operating the exact same way.
Maybe it will. Maybe it won't. But de-throning that one prosecutor will, in her own words, serve as a message  to others of her kind that reckless, power-drunk actions have real-world repercussions.
No, it won't. People respond to risks and rewards, and we've shown amply over the years that the severity of punishment has little deterrent effect on future offenses if the odds of getting caught aren't high enough.
In other words, by throwing one prosecutor to the wolves, we have no inspired any behavioral change in other prosecutors, because we've shown that once every few decades we will punish one person - and that's stacked against the systemic pressures they face to prosecute as many people as vigorously as possible, every day.
This is the same reason why the death sentence, as severe as it is, has basically no effect on crime rates, because it's not handed out with enough regularity to be a deterrent (whether or not we should have the death sentence is another story altogether).
To achieve the "message sending" you want, we will have to regularly investigate many prosecutors, such that the odds of escaping their reckless prosecutorial actions are low. This is what most other people call "changing the system" ;)
Outlier one-offs is just compounding tragedy upon tragedy.
Pour encourager les autres.
My guess is she is just as vituperative and mean to people who work in in her office. She has done far more harm to this country in her mistreatment of Aaron Swartz than she can ever atone for.
Well, maybe. It's also entirely possible that she was just doing her job, and didn't totally understand the technical aspects of what Swartz was accused of doing.
> didn't totally understand the technical aspects of what Swartz was accused of doing
These are quite entirely contradictory. How can you charge someone for a so-called crime you do not even understand?
She had the resources to hire the types of experts who are what I call "executive whisperers." She doesn't need to know what a perl script is to understand what happened at JSTOR.
On top of it, when the "victim" JSTOR is saying "what the hell, why are you prosecuting this guy?" Then its pretty obvious we're looking at political motivations here. Sorry, but you have way too much faith in people if you think what just happened was one big 'honest mistake.'
As a tax payer I don't want a prosecutor who doesn't know who to go after or how far to go. From reading the thread(s) here and loosely following the case in the news I am not convinced that the money spent to prosecute this case was the best possible use of my tax dollars.
Much of law is a very technologically backwards field. Up until recently, some law schools (and not backwater ones, but major top-tier ones) only accepted hard-copy, type-written (as in, on a physical typewriter) applications. Harvard's student library had several typewriters specifically for this purpose.
Someone in a position of power is not strong unless they know when to apply the full amount of power entrusted to them and when to practice restraint; when and how to apply less so that the level of punishment is commiserate with the crime being prosecuted. It is bad for our society to give give someone a pass when they over prosecute a crime in both the short term and the long term.
Yes it's vitally important that there be a completely different and much weaker standard of justice applied to wealthy software developers then those other people.
Messaging that violating proportionality in such crimes is electorally unacceptable is necessary. Villainising a messenger of the law is not.
I do not doubt that Mme Ortiz believes, or at least believed, that what she did is right. Her sense of morality was reinforced by her institutional context and is not unique for a prosecutor. She simply failed to recognise when she stepped outside the bounds where her values are recognised - this is not all that dissimilar from Aaron Swartz. As she should have done in his case, if we intend to use her to send a message, there is no need to do so with such zeal.
I am highly conflicted about signing this petition. The call for bloodletting should never ring so clearly.
However, even if that came to pass, she would still be a top flight lawyer with a broad set of connections; at worst she would move on to another position.
I sure hope you can see the proportional difference between the two acts!
I see a lot of parallels between his struggle to enforce pornography laws with the current struggle to enforce copyright laws. These situations seem to arise when there is a fundamental disconnect between what "the people" think and what "the system" thinks. "The system" is represented by a codified set of strictures that are put in place by a variety of people representing what they assert are the best interests of "the people." Whereas the people themselves, act in what they consider a rational way given their understanding of or perhaps agreement to, the laws of the land. Finally our system of laws are a combination of written text, and argued cases, and the sum of those is an emergent thing thought of as public policy. When the rational acting people don't consent to the public policy, there is a rash of disobedience, and whether it is alcohol, porn, or copyright, the process of emerging to a consensus is challenging at best.
One possible explanation for the zeal in which this case was pursued may be the lack of confounding factors with respect to copyright infringement, as codified by law. I don't know of course so this is just speculation. Having a clear, published, decision on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of what Aaron was doing might have been seen as a way to clear up a confusing pile of statutes and other decisions. An unambiguous marker between fair use and infringement, or perhaps a litmus test for intent. We'll probably never know.
If you look at Carmen's career you will find that she has actually done a lot of good, in getting bad folks put behind bars. She, or her staff, blew it on this one. I wish I knew why. I doubt we'll get the actual story there.
So to what end would ending her career advance Aaron's goal of getting copyright on public records overturned? Making people "afraid" to prosecute it is the wrong answer, making it "not a crime" is the answer. There are only two ways to do that, one is to repeal the statute that makes it a crime in the first place, the second is to litigate the statute and find that the statute is invalid.
Firing Carmen doesn't help, although I completely understand the emotional appeal of doing so.
 I know that would not have happened it is illustrative.
If you get drunk, hop in your car, and accidentally kill some people, then guess what? It doesn't matter if it was an accident. If your "accident" is big enough, it becomes indistinguishable from malice and you get held accountable.
Change the system.
I have a good friend whose father was abusive, and a perfectionist. My friend, as a consequence, holds everyone to an impossible standard - most of all herself - and it's sad to watch, especially given that she's one of the most brilliant, passionate, hard-working people I know. When you expect and demand perfection from people, you will only be let down.
I believe people are well intentioned, but fallible, and demanding retribution for every failing is just a pretty crappy way to go through life. I am very willing to forgive, and only hope that, in my life, others will forgive me when I don't do right (and I'm under no illusions that I always do the right thing)
If it was due to negligence, then there is the issue of to what extent it has a preventative effect.
I'm Norwegian. One of the aspects of the Norwegian legal systems is short prison sentences. The legal maximum sentence is 21 years with a recent modification that allows for extensions (this must be included in the conviction, and is restricted to particularly severe crimes) if the prisoner is considered to still be a risk to society. On top of this, a prisoner is usually let out after 2/3 is served, assuming good behaviour, and will get time limited parole even before that (such as weekends with their family).
So a few months ago, for example, a major newspaper published an interview with a woman convicted of a double murder a decade or so ago, carried out at a cafe while she was out of prison for the day on one of her first parole days. In this case still accompanied by a police officer.
And you know what? I'm happy about that, because we also have one of the lowest re-offending rates.
Vengeance is not a good basis for a legal system.
And if what you want is to minimize harm to the public (and that includes those you put in prison, before someone gets the bright idea that lifetime confinement is a solution), punishment simply doesn't work very well.
This isn't like like murder or robbery, where the criminal can more or less reoffend at will. You can't prosecute unless you are an official, government-recognized prosecutor. If she is removed from her job, she won't be able to prosecute anyone ever again.
That will work just fine.
Let's say that you have a software project, and one of the engineers on the project is fixing bugs. His bug fixes generally fix the bug but often are found to have performance impacts, or later when another problem is found his bug fixes require complex refactoring.
This person is doing their job, day in and day out. Will firing them make your system any better? No, it won't.
This is a management problem, the manager talks to this guy and sets guidelines and standards for his bug fixes, the manager creates policies around how bug fixes are evaluated and the way in which engineers are evaluated that fix them. And then if this engineer can't do the job, as the manager needs it done, then you let them go because you really need a better engineer in that slot.
Its always the manager's fault if someone is let go for just doing their job. If how they did it is an issue, the manager should fix it, and if they are incapable of fixing it then you let go the manager and replace them.
Ortiz IS the manager in this situation, by the way.
Just remember this: this is a Prosecutor who went after Aaron Swartz, even though the alleged victim didn't want to press any charges and had dealt with the matter outside of the court system, in a way that was satisfactory to both parties (Swatz and JSTOR).
Accidentally convicting someone for rape with a life sentence (due to bad due process) is ALSO a mistake.
There is a big difference in magnitude AND consequence.
Unless you are willing to label Aaron as just "collateral damage"?
The law should not be made by prosecuting someone to see where the boundaries of legislation lie.
That said, I personally don't believe that was the case here. It seems that in many ways this prosecution was just a standard prosecution; prosecutors often ask for crazy sentences (and don't get them-, and I don't honestly believe that there was a particularly unprecedented amount of malice on the part of the prosecution.
Your response is neither relevant or useful.
Kindly go troll somewhere else.
Of course this would be little solace to Aaron, as he probably would not be made aware until afterward, if ever.
Also, federal cases usually get settled in pleas, so there's less actual precedent. Going all the way to court would have been painful for him AND would have increased the odds of conviction.
No, it isn't. Prosecutors need to be held responsible for their actions.
So in your view, employees should never be fired no matter how bad they screw up?
The system serves the people; the system's thinking should be subordinate to what the people think. Anything less is a sign that the system is broken and is immediate and desperate need of an overhaul (but that is pretty obvious at this point).
However, whether or not she is "evil" is irrelevant. She clearly went after Swartz with a self-righteous zeal that was far divorced from the seriousness of the alleged crime. I don't know if someone in the US Justice Department had beef with Swartz they wanted to settle, or if they just wanted to make an example of someone, but one thing is certain and that's that until these prosecutors face actual backlash to their jobs and reputation when they go so far overboard, nothing whatsoever will change. They simply have no disincentive for this kind of irresponsible and unprofessional behavior at the moment.
That is: in the one area we do know - computer science - we can see that she pursued trumped up charges. So maybe a forensic accountant would be able to explain that in her past rise to "Bostonian of the Year" she jailed some poor middle manager for making a mistake, or a legal aid guy could break down how she made some minority kid selling pot into a "mobster". Won't know till the Internet and the press does a thorough review:
Bottom line: she did not acknowledge any of Aaron's positive contributions when she decided to portray him as an evil hacker worthy of thirty five years in prison. Show her the same mercy she showed him by forcing her resignation. More, in fact, as I'm sure she'll be able to land on her feet as a high priced lobbyist. The RIAA/MPAA would love to have her.
She's way too toxic for business. She's got her federal pension and probably a long future in politics. Unless Obama throws her out, she's more or less set for life. Prosecutors don't get burned on stuff like this. Now if she cheated on her husband or said something bad about Jesus.
This is also further proof that you can attack leftist political activists with impunity. At his core Aaron was for liberalization of information and open government. If he was a Tea Party guy downloading PDFs from MIT to show "liberal bias" he'd be alive and have his own Fox New show and a book deal.
No one protects the left.
The right and left often come together when it comes to restraining the rights of citizens (patriot act?). Don't demonize the right and put a halo around the left, it only serves to propagate the right/left paradigm that the Americans are already trapped in. We need the right & left coming together on open government issues. I feel good when politicians such as Dennis Kucinich come together with the libertarian-wing of the Right to push for things like Audit the Fed.
Finally, I find your comment rather ironic since it was the left who put this woman into power in 2009 and God knows she is, as you say, "protected". If Obama ever does come about this (doubtful), he will have all the excuses in the book ready for her pardon. The right was vehemently opposed to just about anyone the left selected, but perhaps if the right had their way, it wouldn't have been Carmen M Ortiz in power and maybe Aaron wouldn't be dead. But that's the kinda what-if talk that's just immature at the end of the day.
She works for the people. If the people don't like her saying bad things about Jesus, Muslims, Jews or minorities, she gets the can. That's a good thing.
Lots of people in the USA like Jesus. If even a fraction of that number could be mobilized over this injustice, she's gone.
In reality he would have gone to a while collar prison and would have gotten the counseling he obviously needed.
Sometimes it is better to live free or die. The people who need "counseling" are Ortiz, Heymann, and the inhumane who'd defend or excuse this travesty. Just following orders, blind legalism.
It's not as if she's a holdover from the Reagan years. She was an early appointment by President Obama.
I'll say for sure that a lot of the initial backing by legislators for SOPA/PIPA was just status quo informed by vague technical understanding of the issue, and not because everyone was in the pockets of the movie industry.
Looking at the way the prosecution built its case, the hyperbole, misdirection, inaccuracies dealing with the technical aspects at least, I cannot but attribute at least one of the above attributes to them.
The 9th Circuit (the best circuit!) ruled this was bullshit in US vs. Nosal.
Had the same action been done by a non-political individual who simply did he "because he could" there would have been a quiet, minor settlement.
Getting a DA fired solves nothing. What happens once you have achieved it? What have you accomplished? The law remains the same, and these type of cases continue to be brought.
Change is difficult. But I hope that if people really cared about this they would put as much effort as they can into changing the law, rather than trying to place the blame on a single individual - because the latter can easily result in even more misunderstandings.
At any given time, any person and any company could be easily convicted of enough serious crimes to put them in prison for life or out of business. Prosecutors don't pick cases; they pick defendants, based on what are hopefully well-intended criteria. They then go through the extensive but essentially mechanical process of the justice system, which hopefully at least serves to shine enough daylight on the matter that prosecutor misbehavior is hard to hide.
Saying we should not pressure them to pick in a way we would prefer is to abandon the only actual influence over the system we have.
Otherwise you'd more often run into situations where you couldn't prosecute someone because a statute didn't spell out their exact actions even though in spirit they had violated it.
Technically, President Obama has the power to install and remove U.S. attorneys at his discretion. Should we start a petition asking him to resign, too?
1. Obama appointed her, and by many metrics she is doing a good job.
2. The DOJ under Holder is anything but Liberal in it's outlook, a DOJ that's onboard with killing civilians who are American citizens without requiring even a closed hearing from a judge does not care what you think about prosecutorial overreach.
3. Using outsize threats and the power of indictment to coerce defendants into pleading out is policy, and goes well beyond an individual D.A.'s practices in a given case.
That said; the purpose of this petition is to raise embarrassing questions in a way that demands an answer.
Justice in this country should aspire to be more than "the shadow cast by the powerful upon the weak".
note: I'm aware that I should have had someone else proofread the text and that my misedit of the first paragraph is now unfixable.
Got it. Being a member of a "disenfranchised group" and "fighting corporations" excuses anything.
And the way this was handled, it feels more wrong than right, and she certainly had some considerable say in the way it played out.
Maybe she's had plenty of opportunities to reflect on the consequences of her actions, maybe not (if it was all mob bosses and drug companies, probably not). In light of what's happened, at the least, she needs to reflect and grow from this experience.
I've read somewhere she's was preparing for the Whitey's case mentioned in the article.
"It wasn't Carmen Ortiz that hounded Aaron to death, it was Steve Heymann. And the system that helped him do it: that was all of us." https://twitter.com/quinnnorton/status/290204205124304896
And Tim Carmody:
"FWIW, Carmen Ortiz just runs the US Attorney's office in MA. Stephen Heymann is the Assistant US Attorney going hard after Aaron Swartz." https://twitter.com/tcarmody/status/290192055488094209
Aaron wasn’t so lucky with the JSTOR matter. The case was picked up by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Heymann in Boston, the cybercrime prosecutor who won a record 20-year prison stretch for TJX hacker Albert Gonzalez. Heymann indicted Aaron on 13 counts of wire fraud, computer intrusion and reckless damage.
-- Wired, http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/01/aaron-swartz/
In the area of computer crime, Mr. Heymann:
- Jointly brought the first federal prosecution of a juvenile computer hacker, who had electronically disabled a critical computer servicing the control tower of a regional airport.
- Supervised the prosecution of the first software pirate to be charged with free distribution of copyrighted software over the Internet.
Not that much public info available on the guy.
Of course, Stephen Heymann should also bear the blame. But we don't help society when we refuse to find those in charge responsible for the things they actually are responsible for.
Carmen M. Ortiz, a United States attorney, pressed on,
saying that “stealing is stealing, whether you use a
computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take
documents, data or dollars.”
Ortiz was prosecuting Aaron for actions that are, in fact, crimes, as defined by US law. That's her job, that's her responsibility, and 95+% of the time she is serving the public interest by performing that task. Creating just laws is not her responsibility, it is someone else's. Specifically, it is Congress' responsibility, and they fucked up big-time. They deserve dragging over the coals as much as she does, as do the interests interests who benefit from restricted access to knowledge who lobbied for the creation of these laws. If our reaction to these events is to remove Ortiz, but leave in place the laws themselves and those responsible for their creation, I would call that a failure on our part to hold responsible those who are responsible.
Intentionally separating this part.
While I do think that Ortiz is in the wrong for using bullying tactics, I do not place much blame on her for prosecuting according to an unjust law. For better or worse, that (fucking terrible) law was enacted by a democratically-elected government. I expect her to prosecute based on the laws enacted by a fair democratic process, and not based on her personal views. To do otherwise, I would consider an abuse of power.
She had faith that the laws given to her to uphold were just. In this respect, she was let down by those she depended on. While I wish she had not chosen to prosecute, I do not consider it a failing of hers that she did so. I pile far more blame on Congress than anyone, because it was their responsibility to make sure that the laws are just and fair. While several parties acted in a fashion I disagree with, they are the ones who had the greatest expectation to do otherwise.
Again, that is entirely separate from the bullying tactics she used in prosecution. Those actions are not defensible.
In this case Aaron stuck a laptop in an unlocked closet, used curl to download lots of links, and did absolutely nothing to hide his tracks because he did not think he was doing anything wrong.
She looked at the facts, and decided to press forward with charges regardless when she had more important things she could have focused on instead, and when the company whose documents were "stolen" (and never distributed) wanted to drop charges. Why?
I'm really angry that bankers get to walk away from billion-dollar crimes against clients and homewoners while a prosecutor goes after easy wins on victimless crimes like this.
Rewriting history to fit your own narrative helps no one. He did plenty to hide his tracks:
1) when he connected the laptop to MITs network, he used a fake name (Gary Host/Grace Host)
2) when his MAC was banned by MIT, he changed it
3) he used his helmet to hide his face from a camera when he accessed MITs networking closet
4) he hid the laptop in the closet underneath a cardboard box
5) when he retrieved the laptop from the networking closet, he then went to SIPB and hid the laptop underneath a table
6) when police finally found him, he jumped off his bike and ran from police
He did all of that.. and you're telling me he did not think anything he was doing was wrong? That's a little far fetched.
How about you stop rewriting things, and just tell them how they are?
But the things we do know about what happened, that are not an individuals opinion... we don't get to change those just to make it more convenient to create the narrative we want.
Did he think he was doing anything illegal?
One is the law. The idea that representatives that people elect will end up creating just laws.
If that fucks up, then ...
Prosecutors who prosecute on behalf of the state (as in country here, US, not necessarily a specific state) can chose not to prosecute a case. If they have a teenager who smuggled a little pot from Mexico or they have a white collar embezzlement case of $10M, the hope is that they will go after the embezzlement case.
If this gets fucked up, (as did in this case), then...
It comes to the jury of peers. They jury can choose not to convict.
So it is not as mechanistic as "it is the law, the law was broken, therefore in every instance someone should be punished according to that law". And to fix something, the only way to do it is to overturn the law. There are actually multiple places to put the fix in.
> I do not place much blame on her for prosecuting according to an unjust law.
I do place the blame on her for choosing this case over another case. That is the real issue here. Forget perhaps that as techies many of us personally feel more connected to Aaron. Forget about that for a second. Look at it from the tax payer's point of view. We bank-roll the prosecution of these cases. Is picking this case from the pile and saying "Pedal to the metal with this one. We'll fucking bury this kid" make sense vs picking other cases.
But you see, this case was picked. And I want to know why. And I want to know why was the prosecution so keen and so fervent in this case. This kind of passion does _NOT_ come randomly and I also doubt they have a random-spin-the-wheel-next-case-picker. These decisions, ( I am guessing here) are heavily politically motivated. At least as a tax payer I am owed an explanation as to how the process works.
She has neither the power nor responsibility to legislate, that's true enough. She definitely has discretion in her office as a prosecutor, though, as executive offices tend to have. That discretion is supposed to be one of the things that makes a system with separated powers more resistant to abuse, and she and every other prosecutor are absolutely obligated to use it responsibly.
> by focusing on Ortiz we give them a get-out-of-jail-free card that involves throwing her under the bus.
Many prosecutors seem to think that making high profile examples out of someone serves a deterring purpose. Given what's currently known about the prosecution in the case, I can only assume Ortiz and those who worked for her shared that view. To the extent that it's true, I'd say it's more than fair that the careers of those in question could serve as a bright and burning example of that principle.
And that's far kinder than they've been: using the powers society granted them, they threatened to effectively end Swartz' life with 50 years in prison, and may have played a direct role in his actual death. The only discussion occurring here is about whether they would continue their careers ... not whether they'd continue to have everyday freedom of not being incarcerated.
By this criterion, every prosecutor abuses their power. No prosecutor has the time or the resources to prosecute every violation of every law under their jurisdiction. They have to pick and choose, and that means they bear responsibility for how they pick and choose.
I disagree. Calling for Ortiz to be removed in no way prevents us from also calling for whatever other actions we think are necessary.
The law is not black and white, and is way more intricate than I believe you and I can fathom. From what I've read this was not a black and white case. So what it does it set a precedent (just as Ortiz did when she decided to push this to the absolute maximum) for others that this behavior is not acceptable.
Violating web site terms of service is a civil issue, not criminal. Ortiz chose to create new law principles that violating not just explicit but implicit terms of service, such as by using an email provider that Ortiz does not approve of, should be considered a serious federal crime and prosecuted as such.
The argument that she was just following the law and prosecuting defined crimes is complete bunk.
'The FBI investigated that hack, but in the end no charges were filed. Aaron wasn’t so lucky with the JSTOR matter. The case was picked up by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Heymann in Boston, the cybercrime prosecutor who won a record 20-year prison stretch for TJX hacker Albert Gonzalez. Heymann indicted Aaron on 13 counts of wire fraud, computer intrusion and reckless damage. The case has been wending through pre-trial motions for 18 months, and was set for jury trial on April 1.'
And re: soupnazi, throwing a hacker (even a hacker who was actually criminal) in with violent offenders because he pissed off the wrong people is fucked:
"After his sentencing, Gonzalez was transferred from Wyatt to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn (before ultimately ending up in a prison in Michigan). Situated between a loud stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Gowanus Bay, M.D.C. is brutal, even for a prison. Populated by hardened offenders, it is among the last places a nonviolent government informant would want to be. “The place is terrible,” Agent Michael said. “But you know what? When you burn both ends of the candle, that’s what you get.” Even Gonzalez was impressed by the government’s indifference to his comfort. He says he always knew it would stick it to him somehow, “but I never thought it would be this badly.”"
Making a petition isn't a lynch mob. These people are public servants, and ostensibly serve at the pleasure of the public. So when tragedies like this happen we need to make it extremely clear how displeased we are.
"She's just doing her job"
"She was only acting in what she believed to be right"
"She's just good at her job."
Do I have to remind everyone here that we're actually just humans living amongst one another and the overarching rule of thumb is: Do No Harm?
Seriously. When it's someone in the private sector doing wrong, everyone wants to come out and demonize the person, but as soon as it's a person in the public office, it's as if we immediately start finding excuses for them.
Wake up. Someone's life was demolished because it seemed like a good case to pick up. "Stealing is illegal," she said. Well ok, so is marijuana possession, jay-walking, and smoking inside restaurants. I'm not too sure I can get behind any of these _morally_. Victimless crimes don't need a federal prosecutor coming in and slamming 30+ years at a person. It's just not right.
Like many others here, I want to know why she chose this case. Aaron single-handedly put an end to SOPA by gathering huge amounts of support. Imagine if he could have went on? Imagine the impact he could have made on this world? Does the government fear this? Does silencing him just as they are doing the Wikileaks founder ensure their own sick agenda?
Before we rush to Carmen Ortiz's defense, why don't we ask these questions, yea? Because it's not like we can't find another federal prosecutor -- perhaps one who has more moral integrity than to sentence a 26 yr old GENIUS to a life in prison.
(RIP Aaron - All progress depends on the unreasonable man.)
Suicide is a terrible short term solution. There are better solutions.
Ok, so you win, she gets fired. Another will simply replace her. You need to get the laws sorted out.
Get the laws changed. Or get laws to protect people. Do it in his name. I cant think of a better legacy. (Well, unless I am completely and utterly wrong about how US law stuff works. In which case, I hold up my ignorant hands)
Is the ball already rolling on a petition to have these particular laws changed?
MIT & JSTOR refused to press charges; potentially, misdemeanors for
downloading documents for free public access & possibly violating a
TOC. But Scott Garland, the other prosecutor (lap doggy), and Carmen
Ortiz pursued Aaron by digging deep into their own interpretation of the
law to manufacture new and more serious charges against him. Carmen
Ortiz and her minions continued to badger Swartz by harassing this
brilliant & heroic young man until his death by suicide. The
government should have hired him rather than make him a criminal.
I wonder which murderer, child abuser or rapist the DOJ planned to
spring from the overcrowded prison to make room for an open-source
activist. This is just so wrong on many levels!
May you R.I.P. Aaron Swartz.
Strategies are a collaborative effort in law enforcement.
While I do not know much about these LE agents, I do know that they intended to destroy him, exploit his history of depression (which was common knowledge and surely part of a file work-up) and put him in Federal prison at age 26 and not able to be released until he was 76 years old. As I stated elsewhere, in many states, murders and pedophiles do not face that scope of incarceration. This was more of a targeting than a criminal prosecution. They has just come off a highly awarded prosecution and unfortunately Aaron was next in line for them to reap more awards in a ceremony. I am so sad this young man was overwhelmed by the horror of the circumstances.
I hope there is ultimately a WIKI each for Steven P. Heymann and his Director, Carmen Ortiz, so that their impact on the life of Aaron Swartz in the name of "justice" stands as the award they get from the public.
In effect. Aaron Swartz was given the death penalty for being a freedom fighter. His love of freedom was expressed in radical creativity and breaking down artificial barriers. Who could have known the draconeon measures that were awaiting him?
The prosecutor should be removed as judgement (or lack thereof) has resulted in a tragic miscarriage of justice for the defendant.
The defendant was not a hardened criminal, but he was treated as if he was.
The case involved no violence, breaking in, no drugs, no profit.
The employing of such heavy-handed techniques that the defendant would prefer to end his life rather than face whatever punishment the prosecutor was proffering was entirely inappropriate.
The crime was one of accessing JSTORs files which, since the files are locked behind a paywall, contain information which JSTOR was NOT involved in creating, the legality of JSTOR ownership is questionable.
This is a case of prosecutorial over-reach. Carmen Ortiz is incompetent at best or malevolent at worst.
Let such individuals find employment in other professions where discernement or judgement are not required.
She has not served her country, she has harmed it, and you have a duty to remove her from office so that she does not ruin more lives.
Her pursuit of this case shows that she has no understanding of the the roll technology and information play in the transformation of our economy, and it also shows that she lacks compassion.
The world will feel the loss of Aaron Swartz for many years as his talent was not easily replaced. If you fire Carmen Ortiz tomorrow, I can assure you, she will not be missed.
Someone who is this abusive as a prosecutor is probably equally abusive as a supervisor. From now until her term as prosecutor ends, I will get up every morning and ask myself: "What have I done to help get Carmen Ortiz removed from office today?"
We're going after Ortiz because we think it will satisfy our outrage and grief. That is exactly what I am worried about. I understand wanting to put a face on a tragedy like this, but we should be smarter than this.
It sends a message that we are not satisfied with the way she ran her office.
>There are a thousand prosecutors who are no better just waiting to take that job.
Then they better learn from Ortiz's failure or be removed by the same process. Eventually someone will figure out that this kind of behavior is not acceptable.
>We're going after Ortiz because we think it will satisfy our outrage and grief.
No, I'm upset with Ortiz because this should not have happened. Absolutely no legitimate reason for them to pursue this if JSTOR has no problem.
If the Feds think our outrage will be satisfied by sacrificing one prosecutor, that's all they will do, and they will do it gladly, and that will be the end of that. They will sacrifice their pawn and checkmate us.
I think its an oversimplification to rest all of the blame for Swartz's death on his prosecutor.
However, unnecessary, overzealous prosecution is wrong, and it has consequences - things like this are going to happen when you push people to the edge just because you can.
If this petition receives enough signatures it will force the White House to consider the issue. I do not expect them to remove Carmen Ortiz, but I do expect them to address the reality of overzealous prosecution. It is worth taking a few seconds to ask them to do that.
Loos like Ortiz considers justice is better served prosecuting a young genius committing a “misdemeanor” compared to the banker’s assault to its client’s funds and trust.
"Posthumously Pardon Aaron Swartz"
Ortiz, not Aaron, is an affront to liberalism and decency and does not deserve high office in this land.
This person made errors in judgement. Maybe they came from her poor understanding of technology, maybe not. But what's clear is that the petition author has equally limited understanding of legal matters. Don't do what she did. Be the better person.
Go about this the proper way. If you truly feel that she did something wrong, then consult with a lawyer and decide what can be done. Maybe legal action can be taken to have her sanctioned. Maybe she can be educated. I don't know. And neither do you. So instead of -- essentially -- calling for her to be hanged, go about this the proper way.
THIS MUST STOP!
If the true global public could be the judge than you would be recognized as a terrorist
But it needs to hit 311 million.
What do you call a supposed "good guy" who breaks the law?
- She did her job, which is to enforce the laws as they are written.
- She is very good at doing that job.
- You will not get her fired on the basis of enforcing a law on the books where the law has not been found unconstitutional nor even had its constitutionality seriously questioned.
You want a petition that might have some value? Petition the white house to change the laws or to direct the DOJ not to enforce the law. Until either of those happens, federal prosecutors are ethically bound to continue prosecuting these cases.
From what's emerged today, it's clear that the case against Aaron was weak at best, and highly unlikely to lead to conviction in open court against capable defenders. "Bullying" is an understatement. What's going on is an outright assault on the very core of restrained government. Whether this power is being used for good or ill is besides the point. Like extrajudicial killings, the power itself has been placed outside prosecutor's reach for a reason. They have taken it anyway, and they've done so because no impedement has been there to stop them. At the same time, they've depended in security through obscurity. A general lack of awareness as to how abusive and out of control they've become has enabled the rot we're seeing now.
In this case, we see the importance of open access to jury trials in that they prevent the government from harming its own legitimacy. Given how unrestrained the DOJ has become, it was only a matter of time before they suffered a high-profile screwup. And while Ortiz may simply have been the one unlucky enough to own it, she is very much a part of the problem. Unlike Aaron, she is not an unfortunate innocent caught in the wrong time at the wrong place. To the contrary, she is the fox sneaking into the henhouse on the night that a new watchdog is sleeping beneath it.
This is symbolic. It's our way of saying "fuck you" to the people responsible. The more people that sign this, the bigger the metaphorical middle finger.
Look, realistically, as concerned citizens there isn't a lot we can do here, but one thing we can do is publicly shame the people responsible for this and bring visibility to something that would otherwise go unacknowledged.
Knowing that hundreds of thousands of people in an industry they interface with would fuck them over given a chance must be a bit depressing.